Donor Strives to Continue to Make a Difference in FFA Members’ Lives2019-11-26T13:29:19-05:00

Project Description

Kristy Meyer
Marketing and Communications
National FFA Organization


Donor Strives to Continue to Make a Difference in FFA Members’ Lives

INDIANAPOLIS (Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019National FFA Organization) – When Rev. Dr. Cathi Braasch talks about her daughter Sara Braasch Schmidt, it’s with a fondness of how much she loved FFA and the role FFA played in her life.

In fact, Sara was a former state president of the Idaho FFA Association, participated in the FFA Washington Leadership Conference (WLC) in 1986, was a counselor for WLC in 1991 and a WLC director in 1992. She saw WLC as a life-changing event on a personal level as well as for the members who participated while she was on staff. Sara often told people that her time in FFA was what made everything else possible and contributed to her success. Prior to her death from cancer in 2016, Sara established an endowment with the Idaho FFA Foundation to provide scholarships to WLC.

Rev. Dr. Braasch knew how much FFA and specifically WLC meant to Sara, and to continue the family legacy she has announced the Washington Conference Endowment that will allow more students to experience the conference.

“WLC made such a profound impact on Sara’s life. It’s beyond words. It opened doors. It opened horizons. It opened relationships that continue up until the time of her death,” Rev. Dr. Braasch said. “Our hope is that through this endowment the Washington Leadership Conference continues to grow, to reach more and more kids who might never have the life-changing opportunity that it provides, and to assure that it remains foundational to the leadership development system that FFA is so well-known for.”

The Washington Conference Endowment was established to provide funds to support and sustain the Washington Leadership Conference in perpetuity. Rev. Dr. Braasch made this donation in loving memory of both her husband Leroy “Red” Braasch and their daughter Sara Braasch Schmidt. As a young man, “Red” Braasch was a member of the Manitowoc, Wisconsin FFA Chapter. He and Cathi Braasch (nee´ Hopkins) met in 1966 through their mutual involvement with the North Salinas California chapter. Red and Cathi remained active in FFA throughout the nearly 50 years of their marriage, most recently as alumni in establishment of the Bertrand-Loomis (BerMis) Nebraska FFA Chapter.

Rev. Dr. Braasch also established the Washington Conference Endowment so that others can contribute to it with gifts of any size to help secure the future of WLC and FFA members. Appropriately, alongside the 50th anniversary celebration of WLC this year, the National FFA is running a campaign to reconnect with all WLC (formerly known as the Washington Conference) alumni to present several exciting opportunities for them to “check in” with FFA and reunite their WLC alumni friends. Past WLC participants are encouraged to visit and use the hashtag #FFAWLC50 to share their WLC memories.

“The Washington Leadership Conference has been building future leaders for 50 years, and Rev. Dr. Braasch’s commitment is not only generous, but it will also ensure that WLC will continue to provide life-changing experiences for FFA members long into the future,” said Jim Williams, executive director of development for the National FFA Foundation.

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to more than 700,000 student members who belong to one of the more than 8,600 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by more than 8 million alumni and supporters throughout the U.S.

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About National FFA Organization
The National FFA Organization is a national youth organization of more than 700,000 student members as part of 8,600 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing